National research programmes and initiatives

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Germany has recently initiated national research activities for the reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel utilization. One of these, the COORETEC initiative, is aiming at improved power-plant technologies while the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN program investigates underground storage options for CO2. Other individual research and development activities of universities, industry and research institutes exist. Their description is, however, beyond the scope of this paper.

2.2.1 COORETEC

The COORETEC initiative was launched in 2002 by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA) to promote CO2-reduction-technologies for fossil fuel-fired power plants. Four working groups (WG) were established to address technical, scientific, socio-economic and legal aspects of CO2 capture and storage:

• WG1: Boundary conditions (legal framework, economic conditions)

• WG2: CO2-capture, utilisation and storage

• WG3: Short and mid term power plant technologies

• WG4: Future technologies

In 2004 the report of these four COORETEC working groups was published under the title: "Research and Development Concept for Zero-Emission Fossil-Fuelled Power Plants". This report can be downloaded from the COORETEC website (http://www.cooretec.de).

As shown in Figure 6, the short-term priority target of the COORETEC project is to increase the efficiency of steam (DKW) and gas & steam (GuD)electric power stations and thus decrease the CO2 emissions per unit of electric energy produced from fossil fuel combustion. Thus, R&D activities of COORETEC projects focus on:

• Measures to improve efficiency of combined cycles

• Measures to improve efficiency of conventional steam power plants

• Integrated Gasification Gas Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant development with and without CO2 capture

• Novel technology developments with CO2 capture, especially oxyfuel concepts

With the OXYCOAL-AC project, funded in the context of COORETEC, the Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer (www.wuek.rwth-aachen.de) of RWTH-Aachen is conducting front-end R&D work in this field.

CO2 capture and storage technologies are also in the scope of the COORETEC program, but with lower priority and on an intermediate and long-term R&D horizon. The compilation of a national storage inventory is considered a prerequisite for near-zero-emission power generation.

2.2.2 GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

In November 2003 a call for project applications was launched by the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN Programme with the research focus: "Exploration, Usage and Protection of the Subsurface". GEOTECHNOLOGIEN is a geoscientific research and development programme funded jointly by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG — German Research Council).

The call solicited project applications related to "Utilisation of the Subsurface for Global Climate Protection Purposes" with a specific focus on the "appraisal of procedures for subsurface storage of the greenhouse gas CO2 and the development of corresponding exploration and monitoring technologies".

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R&D horizon

Figure 5. The COORETEC program.

short term intermediate long term

R&D horizon

Figure 5. The COORETEC program.

The scope of R&D activities envisaged by this programme comprised the evaluation of appropriate rock formations, such as deep saline aquifers, depleted oil and natural gas reservoirs and deep, unminable coal seams for underground storage of CO2 with special consideration of long-term integrity and safety. Specifically, applications were requested related to the investigation of reactive transport of CO2, the reaction kinetics of this gas with reservoir rocks and seals and potential effects on their petrological and mechanical properties. Furthermore, this programme aimed at promoting research into new injection procedures and geophysical and geochemical monitoring techniques ensuring a safe long-term deposition and precise survey of CO2 migration in the subsurface during and after injection. Project applications were also requested for the development and application of numerical models for the prediction of CO2 transport and the assessment of potential risks of groundwater contamination.

Among the applications filed in response to this call, approximately 10 have been selected for funding over a period of three years. Details on the selected project and the total funding will be released by April 2005.

2.2.3 Research for Climate Protection and Protection from Effects of Climate Changes

This programme, launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2004, has two focal points: (i) Reduction of CO2 emissions, especially in industrial applications (power generation is a focus of the COORETEC Programme) and (ii) Adaptation to climate change and extreme weather events. Projects probably will not commence before 2006.

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